EAST offers 223,000 sq ft of prime industrial and logistics space in a key location, just outside Preston – right alongside J31 of the M6. Working in partnership with Lancashire’s Barnfield Construction HBD has lovingly turned this previously undeveloped site into a prime Grade A I&L scheme.
Untapping hidden potential
This excellent site had passed through various ownerships which had unlocked the site, putting in an access road and in 2018 we acquired it in a JV partnership with Barnfield Construction. There were various options for the site – from roadside to retail or office – but as the I&L market continued to strengthen we knew that this was the perfect location for us to develop warehousing space.
So, what makes EAST really special?
As you’d expect from any great I&L scheme its location really is second to none. Located close to J31 of the M6 it provides great access to the national motorway network.
Secondly, the scope to develop a broad range of options for occupiers was immediately clear. Set across 18 acres, EAST allowed us to deliver various building configurations and react to market demand.
What about the partnership with Barnfield?
Barnfield is an established partner of HDB. We’ve worked with them in the past on Beacon 62 at Merseyside, successfully creating a scheme which delivered a fantastic new Euro Garages service station, an Aldi, as well as selling a remaining plot to Hatfields for a Jaguar Land Rover car dealership.
The success of that scheme meant we were keen to develop further opportunities to work with Barnfield again. As a highly trusted, pedigree Lancashire business they are a well-connected local partner. When we looked at what was needed to bring forward EAST we knew they had the local knowledge and connections as well as the experience and drive to help achieve the vision.
How did EAST start to emerge?
Having acquired the plot in 2018 we started on site in 2020 when we decided to speculatively develop a 70,000 sq ft set of five terraced units to capitalise on a strong industrial and logistics market in the wake of Covid-19. These had planning for both logistics and manufacturing so we knew they would appeal to a wide range of occupiers. Within just three months of completion, they were all let to occupiers including Centaur Technologies, Universal Product Solutions and Machine Tool Technologies.
So, the demand was clear and delivery of the second phase has moved forward at pace since.
Where did the funding come from ?
Fast forward to the last working day of 2022 when the funding market was particularly subdued, we celebrated the holidays by completing a £30m deal with Titan Investments who acquired the site including the three fully let buildings and the final development plot.
Given the market conditions at the time the deal with Titan demonstrated the appeal of the site. It was secured following pre-lets on phase 2 to DHL and DPD who are taking 63,000 sq ft and 59,000 sq ft respectively. These design and build units will enable them to support the Lancashire markets. The final 30,000 sq. ft. warehouse building will be developed directly by Titan.
How green is EAST ?
The DHL unit is being built to BREEAM Excellent standards and will include great welfare facilities for its people – spaces to sit and think as well as cycling and shower facilities.
Electric vehicle charging points will feature and the building will be designed to enable photovoltaic panels to be installed by the occupier. The spaces between the buildings and surrounding the perimeter will be landscaped to encourage the creation of wildlife habitats and provide a space for the staff to unwind.
What makes EAST so special?
The scheme has already had a strong impact on the local economy, turning shrub land into a space which is home to thriving businesses and by the time it completes, will have created jobs for hundreds of people locally.
The location is what made EAST so very compelling for occupiers. With Universal, which was a relatively new company, they wanted to expand their business and the specification we could offer them at EAST really appealed. When Centaur moved to EAST they came across from an old, traditional unit in Leyland so got a bespoke fitout which really enabled the business to move forward in a modern, high specification environment.
Its success demonstrates the continued demand for well-located Grade A industrial and logistics space in the north and we’re proud to be delivering another highly successful project with our JV partner, Barnfield.
What nice things have others said about the scheme?
The scheme is without doubt meeting the requirements of its key occupiers including DPD whose Head of Property Louise Ferguson said: “It is fantastic to see the work and the investment going into the scheme. We had no doubts whatsoever about developing our new distribution centre at EAST. We know how good the location is, having been there for almost 20 years, but we have outgrown our existing depot, which was custom built back in 2005. Our new larger, purpose-built site will enable us to provide an even better service to businesses and parcel recipients locally.”